Sunday, April 20, 2008

About those superdelegates

I'm not the most savvy voter in the world, I'll admit, but I don't think I'd ever heard much, if anything, about superdelegates before this winter. I didn't always vote republican, either. In fact, I was a teenage campaigner for McGovern in 1972, even before I could vote. At any rate, I'd never heard enough about superdelegates for them to get much under my attention radar. They are now.

Would someone like to explain the concept to me? Where did it come from, and why does it still exist? It amuses me that many people who would like to get away from the electoral college are members the party that has the superdelegate system. Can anyone spell "ironic"?

Here is a little piece of news from today about superdelegates: the undecided ones, currently numbering approximately 250, don't feel bound by the primary votes, or the number of delegate a candidate already has.

About 250 superdelegates have told the AP they are undecided or uncommitted. About 60 more will be selected at state party conventions and meetings this spring.

AP reporters across the nation contacted the undecideds and asked them how they plan to choose. Of those, 117 agreed to discuss the decision-making process.

_About a third said the most important factor will be the candidate who, they believe, has the best chance of beating Republican John McCain in the general election.

_One in 10 said the biggest factor will be the candidate with the most pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses.

_One in 10 said what matters most is who won their state or congressional district in the primary or caucus.

_The rest cited multiple factors or parochial issues.

And this quote amazes me:

Many of the undecided superdelegates say they don't want to be perceived as elite insiders, cutting backroom deals to select a nominee. But that doesn't mean they're ready to forfeit their status.

"The way the system is set up, the superdelegates are able to weigh in because we are the most experienced people in the party," said Blake Johnson, an undecided superdelegate from Alaska. "We are the ones who have been part of the party the longest and keep it running on a day-to-day basis."

Can anyone spell "clueless"?

I'll make you a little wager. If Clinton gets the nomination based on superdelegate votes, we'll see an outcry to change the system before the next election cycle. If Obama wins the nomination the superdelegate debate probably won't get much attention.

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